Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
Cooperative Activities – If merger is out, perhaps greater cooperation among schools within the same community may be possible, the aim being to reduce costs. Small schools, in particular, could share one executive director or fundraiser. Other possibilities are the sharing of faculty and the use of educational technology to link classrooms. In fact, I am currently working on a new initiative aimed at achieving inter-day school cooperation.
Annual Dinner – Experience shows that for many schools the annual dinner is vital for fundraising. Nonetheless, cost-cutting measures are possible, ranging from less lavish invitations to a less lavish meal, as well as restraint in the gifts presented to the honorees and a severe reduction in the customary journal which is bloated with quickly forgotten love notes to the honorees and others, with most copies thrown away before the food is fully digested and nearly all of the remainder being discarded with the Pesach cleaning.
Trips – Student trips have become ingrained in the school year, with parents picking up the ever-increasing cost, though at times schools foot part of the bill. Excluding the well-deserved eighth grade excursion to Washington and perhaps one or two other outings, trips cannot be justified at a time of fiscal hardship. Schools can save money and so can parents who can barely make ends meet.
Conventions and Conferences – I am back to Jewish Education, Inc., now from the perspective of individual schools. Whatever the justification in upbeat times for educators going to Israel at school expense to meet people they often meet on these shores, there is no excuse for this extravagance now. I know I will be pilloried for suggesting that lay leaders put their foot down and tell school principals that conventions are out this year and next and that this includes Torah Umesorah’s. It is not, in my view, halachically permissible to spend school money on such activities when faculty and staff are not being paid in a timely manner.
PTA – Parent associations can be useful adjuncts in the operation of a school by funding school-based activities that are not provided for in the budget. At times, however, the PTA attitude is “this is our money, not the school’s.” PTA leaders should consider how they can directly assist school officials who are responsible for paying faculty and other obligations.
Attitude – This list obviously does not include all that may be done to help our schools weather the darkening storm. At the end of the day, fundraising and tuition shortfalls will leave a painful budgetary gap. What is essential is the recognition that there is a crisis, that this is not a time for business as usual. Nor is it the time for denial of reality or its corollary in our religious life that faith is essential and that with faith alone Torah institutions will get by. Faculty cannot pay their bills with scrip called faith, nor are suppliers any more eager to accept this form of payment.
If a mindset takes hold in a school that there is a crisis and expenditures must be reviewed carefully, the prospect is that the school will come up with additional savings, whether in the use of e-mail instead of conventional mail or reduction of printing bills through use of the computer or energy savings and so on. If we avoid denial, we shall increase enormously the ability to get by in a responsible manner. If we are in denial, we are embracing a formula for disaster.
About the Author: Dr. Marvin Schick is president of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School. He has been actively engaged in Jewish communal life for more than sixty years.
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Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier
The Gazans are now paying for the choices they have made.
As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.
Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.
UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.
People test Israel every day to see how serious we really are in knowing when we are right.
Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?
It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.
Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”
The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.
Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.
So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.
King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.
We now are in the season of advocacy of preschool, referring specifically to the education of children who are four years old.
As the Torah teaches, poverty will never be eradicated, nor will our obligation to assist those in need.
As we commemorate the fiftieth yahrzeit this Friday, the second day of Kislev, of Rav Aaron Kotler – the greatest Jew, in the opinion of even many of his fellow Torah luminaries, ever to set foot on North American soil – we are obligated to reflect on his achievements and the lessons he taught.
A major sociological characteristic and consequence of modernity is the tendency for people to join together in associations that express a common goal or interest or a shared experience. The United States has been a nation of joiners from day one and perhaps even before independence was declared. Alexis de Tocqueville described this tendency in Democracy in America, the epic prophetic work published a century and three-quarters ago.
There is constant talk of a tuition crisis, of the growing number of yeshiva and day school parents – and potential parents – who say that full tuition or anything close to it is beyond their financial reach.
Where children are emotionally and socially when they are not in school is a matter of growing concern for educators, especially in Jewish schools and other religious institutions.
It often seems that it’s always open season on teachers, that they are available for target practice in the form of harsh criticism or verbal and written abuse from current parents, former parents, current students, former students, administrators, lay leaders and, in the case of public education, public officials and the media.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/denial-and-disaster/2009/02/11/
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